The Dark Side Of The Desperate Housewives Cast

In the mid-2000s, the hottest show on TV was ABC's wryly comic primetime soap Desperate Housewives. Set on the pristine suburban street of Wisteria Lane where nothing was what it seemed, the show detailed the romantic, criminal, and social missteps of complicated characters like Bree Van de Camp (Marcia Cross), Lynnette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan), Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher), and their various and assorted ill-behaved husbands, boyfriends, and children. 

While the plots of Desperate Housewives were often scandalous and ridiculous, the lives of the performers on set and off were often even more gossip-worthy. Here are some of the most interesting stories from the lives of the Desperate Housewives cast.

Why Eva Longoria got divorced

Desperate Housewives alum Eva Longoria's on the list of beautiful Hollywood actresses who married big-time sports superstars, like Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade, or Ciara and Russell Wilson. Longoria married French-born NBA superstar Tony Parker in 2007, and things seemed to be fine and dandy...until they weren't. She filed for divorce in 2010, citing "irreconcilable differences," although there were rumors that Parker had been unfaithful. Longoria later confirmed the gossip on Lifetime's The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet—she said she discovered hundreds of sexts between Parker and "the other woman," Erin Barry, the ex-wife of one of Parker's teammates.

Dana Delany's cosmetic surgery nightmare

Two-time Emmy winner (for China Beach) Dana Delany joined the cast of Desperate Housewives in 2007, not all that long after a frightening Botox mishap. "My dermatologist was saying, 'You should try it,'" Delany told Prevention in 2010. "He injected my forehead, hit a nerve, and created a huge hematoma." Delany says that the nerve hit by the enthusiastic doctor has been "dead ever since." That, in turn, affected a muscle surrounding her right eye, causing it "droop a little bit." Due in part to that bad experience, Delany vowed to never have any kind of plastic surgery again.

There was nastiness during a Vanity Fair photo shoot

The Desperate Housewives cultural juggernaut was at its peak when Vanity Fair placed the main cast on its cover in 2005. During the photo shoot, however, things got ugly. In order to keep the rest of the cast happy, a representative from ABC reportedly told the magazine to keep cast member Teri Hatcher in check and to not let her act like she was the "star"specifically, to prevent her from getting first choice of wardrobe or being placed in the center of photographs. Despite those instructions, Hatcher arrived early so as to get first crack at outfits, and then wound up in the center of a photo. When co-star Marcia Cross realized Hatcher had been given the star treatment, she reportedly stormed off the set.

Jesse Metcalfe's ex-girlfriend spilled the beans about their relationship

One of the most salacious plots on Desperate Housewives was also one of its first: the affair between married Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) and teenage lawn boy John Rowland (Jesse Metcalfe). In real life, Metcalfe's romantic life was almost as embarrassing, if a book written by a former flame is to be believed. Courtney Robertson, who "won" season 16 of The Bachelor and thereby the love of some guy named Ben, wrote Confessions of a Reality Show Villain, which includes details of her other conquests, including Adrian Grenier of Entourage—and Metcalfe. After meeting at an L.A. house party in the mid-2000s, the two dated for a while, although Robertson says Metcalfe "needed a lot of reassurance" and "was pretty average" in the bedroom. Their relationship ended in 2007, when Metcalfe entered rehab, consistent with Robertson's recollection that he admitted to having substance abuse troubles and would "disappear for days at a time."

Neal McDonough wouldn't do sex scenes

Neal McDonough has one of those faces you recognize and wonder "where have I seen him before?" The answer: all over the place. The blond actor has appeared on Band of Brothers, Suits, Justified, and tons more TV series (and movies), including a run on Desperate Housewives as Dave Williams, a creepy motivational speaker and evil husband of Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan). In real life, McDonough is a devout Catholic, so committed to his morals that he refuses to do sex scenes. According to Deadline, McDonough wouldn't film bedroom romps with Sheridan, his TV wife. After he left Housewives and joined the cast of ABC's short-lived primetime soap Scoundrels, McDonough once again voiced his opposition to filming a sex scene, this time with co-star Virginia Madsen. And then he was fired.

Harvey Weinstein threatened Felicity Huffman

The Harvey Weinstein scandal is one of the most devastating and horrifying in Hollywood history, with many women coming forward to report that Weinstein sexually assaulted them, and/or threatened to tank their careers. One of those actresses: Emmy-winning Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman. In 2006, Huffman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Transamerica, as a transgender woman who goes on a road trip with son. The film was released by The Weinstein Company, and Harvey Weinstein had some stipulations: namely, that Huffman was required to hit the red carpet in clothes made by Marchesa, the fashion house operated by his wife, Georgina Chapman. Otherwise, Weinstein said, he'd pull the Transamerica promotion budget. "He was the mastermind behind Marchesa—orchestrating deals and using his influence in terms of the celebrity connections for her on behalf of the brand," Huffman's publicist told The Hollywood Reporter. Huffman later confirmed the story and her publicist's comments.

Eva Longoria's troubled restaurant portfolio

Eva Longoria was the breakout star of the early years of Desperate Housewives, and used the show to propel herself to bigger and better things, such as a movie career and owning a bunch of restaurants. Unfortunately, almost all them have had sketchy histories. Beso, a Latin American fusion place in Hollywood, was sued in 2016 by a man who claimed an employee assaulted him during an after party for Longoria's movie Lowriders. (It's now a new joint called Viva Hollywood.) That's not even Longoria's most beleaguered restaurant. That would be SHe, an upscale steakhouse marketed to women. (What makes a steakhouse lady-friendly? Smaller steaks.) Two years after opening, the local health department temporarily shut it down after giving it 21 demerits on an inspection. Less than a month later, SHe shut down for good.

The Vanessa Williams photo scandal

Vanessa Williams has had a long, varied career with many different stages. Before she joined the cast of Desperate Housewives, she was Emmy nominated three times for her role on ABC's fashion comedy Ugly Betty. Before that, she had a wildly successful career as a singer, with huge hits like "Save the Best for Last" and "Colors of the Wind." And all of that came after Williams was named Miss America 1984. Not only is she the most famous Miss America of all time, she was also the first ever African-American woman to win the title...and the first to have to give up her crown due to a nude photo scandal. While working as a photographer's assistant two years before the pageant, Williams posed for what she thought were some artful, naked silhouettes for her boss. "He assured me that none of the photographs would ever leave the studio," Williams told People, except they did—the slimy shutterbug sold them to Penthouse. (They also weren't silhouettes—Williams was fully recognizable.)

Nicollette Sheridan's ex-fiance wrote a tell-all about her

Nicolette Sheridan has been romantically linked with some of the most deliciously cheesy names of the '70s, '80s and '90s, including teen idol Leif Garrett, Charles in Charge star Scott Baio, L.A. Law hunk Harry Hamlin, and soft rock superstar Michael Bolton. Probably the least famous beau she's been with is a Swedish stuntman named Niklas Soderblom. She first approached him in a Malibu coffee shop in 2003, and a year later, he proposed. Shortly thereafter, Soderblom has alleged, things got weird. He says Sheridan was prone to temper tantrums and wouldn't let him sleep in her bedroom, because she'd lock herself in there with her dog and eat ice cream all night. These and other claims were made in Soderblom's memoir, Desperate Houseman. (Oh, and they never did get married.)

Felicity Huffman was implicated in a massive college admissions scandal

According to NBC News, the FBI implicated 50 people in "Operation Varsity Blues," a sting that revealed a huge plot by wealthy tycoons and Hollywood types to get their kids into top universities via a variety of shady and illegal methods. A man named William Singer reportedly led the operation, allegedly bribing college entrance exam proctors, paying surrogates to take tests for the kids, and convincing college coaches to insist that some kids were athletic recruits (increasing their odds of acceptance). A number of prominent people were arrested, including Full House star Lori Loughlin and Desperate Housewives Emmy-winner Felicity Huffman. Prosecutors allege that Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy (who was not charged) reportedly spent $15,000 to get their eldest daughter unlimited SAT testing time. 

Huffman was arrested at her Los Angeles home by armed FBI agents and later posted $250,000 bail.